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Title: Maryland's Strategic Forest Lands Assessment--Using Indicators and Models for Decision Support

Author: Horan, J. L.; Wolf, J. C.;

Date: 2006

Source: In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 922-928

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Sustaining healthy, ecologically functional, and economically viable forests is an increasing challenge in Maryland due to relentless urban development. Forests that once occupied more than 90 percent of Maryland’s landscape today cover only 41 percent of the land. As forests become more fragmented and parcelized they begin to lose their ability to provide important ecological, social, and economic benefits. This paper excerpts the publication “Maryland’s Strategic Forest Lands Assessment” which highlights the use of indicators to analyze forest sustainability and multi-variate GIS-based computer models to rank the ecological and economic importance of forestlands at the state level. It also addresses the methodology behind the models and showcases ways of enhancing them for making finer scale land management decisions.

At the core of the assessment are four computer based thematic models that have used aggregated data sets to determine the Ecological Ranking of Forest Lands, the Economic Ranking of Forest Lands, the Vulnerability Ranking of Forest Lands, and the Riparian Restoration Potential of more than 1000 sub-watersheds. These GIS-based computer models were initially created as indicators and benchmarks at the state scale. More recently the tools have been further honed to help managers make decisions at a number of different scales.

The ecological ranking has been used to assess ecological importance at the state level, but it has also been adapted for use at the parcel scale to evaluate the ecological ranking of lands being considered for fee simple or easement purchase. Similar adaptations were made to watershed models to create a restoration model that could pick out individual stream segments that were of particular interest for forest buffer restoration. Much work still remains to be done, but the availability of finer scale data makes the use of these tools even more relevant for decision support.

Keywords: monitoring, assessment, sustainability, Western Hemisphere, sustainable management, ecosystem resources, strategic forest lands assessment, indicators, Maryland’s Strategic Forest Lands Assessment

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Horan, J. L.; Wolf, J. C. 2006. Maryland''s Strategic Forest Lands Assessment--Using Indicators and Models for Decision Support. In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 922-928

 


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